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Such were the Righteous

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    Posted: 11 March 2005 at 8:50am
Topic: Such were the Righteous (1 of 1), Read 56 times
Conf: Issues: The Islamic Personality
From: Ibn Hanbal
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2003 09:20 PM

as salamu alaykum,

All praise belongs to Allah, a fitting praise, one that is for every blessing He has bestowed. And how many a blessing has He bestowed, and how little have we shown gratitude. May the Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah, upon his family and companions. I want to mention some points from the life of one of the great scholars of Islam, one of the Awliya, the Imam, the Sayyid, our Master, al-Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir Jilani [May Allah send Mercy upon him and allow us to benefit from him]. One may find actual biographies in different places on the internet, and my intention is not to give a biographical sketch with the details of his life and events. My intention is to simply bring about some points on his life, on his beauty, to increase ourselves in respect for him. May Allah make me sincere, keep me away from error, and allow me to benefit from what is said.

He was born in Jilan, in the year 470 A.H. One must note about him that he had mastery over the sciences of Jurisprudence, recognized as an authority and vessel of knowledge. He was a Hanbali, through the rulings he gave and what he followed, and was an authority in the Shafi'i school of Fiqh. He studied under many reputed teachers, and devoted his life and times to the cause of Allah. A direct descendant of the Prophet, through Sayyidina Hasan ibn 'Ali [May Allah be pleased with them both]. The rest of the details regarding his life can be read online somewhere. Most of the incidents and information following is taken from a work by Shaykh Abul Hasan Nadwi [Allah's Mercy be upon him].

Here was a man who kept to himself, for many years, and after that, felt it necessary to preach others after he had corrected himself and deemed it proper to teach students. How many of us deem it necessary to act, to correct others, while we have little knowledge? As for his piety and righteousness, know that Imam Ibn Qudama [Allah's Mercy be upon him, the authority and Imam in the Hanbali Madhhab] states in his voluminous and vast work used for Fatawa, al-Mughni, that he had not seen a person more revered and respected for his piety and learning than Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir. To the point that the King, his chiefs, ministers, and the people of high class would come to attend his lectures and sermons, even if it meant to sit in corners! It is noted at one point, that the students in total can be estimated by the fact that there would be 400 ink pots at the gatherings.

As for his character, he was not arrogant and demanding. He would go to even wash the clothes of the needy and help the destitute. If the Caliph paid a visit to his home, he would go inside so he wouldn't have to stand up to welcome the ruler [it is against the Sunna to stand up for people who may have arrogance]. Nor did he ever pay a visit to the Caliph, ministers, the governor, or vizier. The contemporary of the Shaykh, Hafiz Abu 'Abdullah al-Barzali wrote:

"His prayers would be readily answered. Being extremely tender-hearted, he would burst into tears if anything sorrowful or touching was mentioned to him. More often he was to be found in recollection of Allah."
[Qalaid al-Jawahir]

Others wrote of him, that he would never seek revenge, nor send back a beggar without giving him something. If he had nothing to give, he would part with the clothes he had been putting on! [ibid]

The scholars of the time, and those after, are agreed that a large number of miracles or amazing incidents were recorded about him. Shaykh ul-Islam 'Izz ul-Din ibn 'Abdul Salam and Ibn Taymiyya [Allah's Mercy be upon them] are of the view that there is no doubt that many amazing incidents and miracles occurred at the hands of Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir, but his greatest miracle [karama] was filling the broken-hearted with faith, hope, and leading people to guidance! It is recorded about him that in almost every sermon of his there would be a number of Jews and Christians who would embrace Islam, that marauders and robbers would repent from their sins, and heretics would renounce their deviations. And in the most well-known biography of him, Qalaid al-Jawahir, it is mentioned that it was a blessing granted to him by Allah that more than five thousand Jews and Christians embraced Islam and about a hundred thousand sinners and criminals repented for their misdeeds on account of him. As for people who doubt concerning such extraordinary events, or the karamaat granted to the righteous, then this is something which is from the lack of faith. It is the people who look with mockery at the authentic narrations and extraordinary instances, that will be misled by the deciever, the false Messiah (Dajjal), who will show to us extraordinary things to misguide those never thought that such could happen.

Imam 'Abdul Wahhab al-Sha'rani [Allah's Mercy be upon him], mentions a recorded instance concerning Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir, which he himself relates:

"Once I saw a light which filled the entire sky and horizon. Then a human frame appeared therein and said, 'O Abdul Qadir, I am Lord, your God. I have made every thing prohibited lawful for you.' I replied, 'Get away from me, Devil.' As soon as I uttered these words, the lustre in the sky turned into darkness and the human frame began to dissapear into smoke. Then I heard a voice saying, 'Abdul Qadir, I have misled seventy ascetics with this device, but Allah has saved you on account of your knowledge and piety.' To this I replied, 'No, it was simply the grace and Mercy of Allah that saved me.' After relating this incident, someone asked how he knew it was Shaytan speaking to him. He replied, 'he had said that he made the things prohibited lawful for me!'"
[Tabaqat al-Kubra of Imam al-Sha'rani, v.1, p.127.]

It was due to him, and his strict following of actual knowledge, that the scholars of Hadith and the Fuqaha would be held highly. He would teach and give classes on the Qur'an, Tafsir, teach from the works of Hadith, and also give lessons in Fiqh. He would explain the differences between the different schools, and would sit for many hours answering the questions given to him, giving Fatawa based upon the Shafi'i and Hanbali Madhhabs.

His verdicts and teaching of Fiqh were recognized by all of the scholars of Iraq, and was known for his wisdom. One of the peculiar incidents mentioned, is when a questioned was referred to him about a man who had taken an oath that he would perform a religious observance in a manner that no one else in the whole world would be able to share the privilege with him, but, if he failed to fulfil this, it would mean a full and irrevocable divorce from his wife! The scholars were astounded by the strange oath taken by the man and could not suggest an observance or act that would be performed by him alone in the whole world. Sayyidina Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir, however, thought, and replied that the man should be allowed to circumambulate the Ka'ba alone seven times, to perform the 'Umrah. All of the scholars were agreed upon this solution, because this was the only authorised religious observance which he could perform alone without others being engaged in it at the same time somewhere else. Such is the wisdom of the righteous!

'Allama Ibn Taymiyya devoted about one hundred pages to giving a commentary on the lectures of Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir known as Futuh al-Ghaib [volume 10 of Majmu' Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya]. For further explanations from Ibn Taymiyya's commentary, see the following:

Some of the instances and recorded words from his Life

In a time in which we ourselves are delved into the world and its pursuits, it is appropriate to cite from his sermons [translations], in which he beautifully gives advice. Let us listen attentively to what will be said, and think about ourselves and not of others.
"This entire creation is like a man who has been imprisoned and chained by a king whose dominions are vast and countenance awesome. The prisoner has been hanged from a pine tree beneath which overflows a river, wide and deep. The king is seated on an elevated chair, having arrows and bows, javelins and spears by his side. He hits the captive with whatever weapon he desires. Now, would it be prudent for anyone witnessing the scene to divert his attentian from the king and then expect harm or favour from the captive instead of the king? Would not such a man be deemed a fool or even mad? O Allah!, I seek your refuge from blindness after having being given eyes, from being cast off after getting near You, from regression after being promoted to your favour, from being misled after being given guidance and from apostacy after having been granted faith."
[Futuh al-Ghaib, 17]

And in another sermon:
"Your earthly desires are like your foolish friends who keep you off the righteous path and deprive you of things, pleasing and desirable. How long would you remain slaves of your desires, temptations, greed, pride, in short, this transitory world? How long would you remain forgetful of the Hereafter and of your Creator, the Fashioner of everything, the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden; everything is couched within His grasp from which emanates the love within your heart, the peace and solace, blesings and favour."
[ibid, 62]

Another of his advice on seeking the worldly necessities:
"Do not try to obtain your share of the worldly gifts, in a way that you have to keep standing before it like a beggar. You ought to be like a sovereign who keeps himself seated while the gifts are presented before him. This world acclaims those who stand and wait at the door of Allah Almighty, but it demeans those who wait upon it. Therefore, get your share of the worldly benefits without demeaning yourself or compromising your dignity, and this is what Allah expects of you."
[Futuh al-Ghaib, 25]

Imam Ibn Kathir [al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, v.12, p.252] records that when the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtafi appointed Abul Wafa' Yahya, a man notorious for cruelty, as a Qadi, Sayyidina Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir admonished the Caliph in these words:

"You have appointed a man notorious as the 'Most Tyrant' to rule over the Muslims. What would your answer be tomorrow on the Day of Judgement, before the Lord of the Worlds, the Most Merciful?"

It is recorded that when the Caliph came to know of the admonishment of the Shaykh, he burst into tears and immediately dismissed Abul Wafa' from the office. Such was the honour and power granted to the righteous!

When he passed away [561 A.H.], he was in a state of Remembering Allah, and such were even his last words. May Allah be pleased with him, and Allah's Mercy be showered upon him, and upon all of the righteous scholars who have passed from us. May Allah allow us to benefit from him, and to act upon what is said.

Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Prophet, His Beloved, and His Slave. And Praise is for Allah, Exalted is He, the Most Merciful.


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